Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I am preaching a three-part series on the gospel, taken from Paul's address to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20. The first two parts, on repentance and on faith, are posted. The link is on the sidebar.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Money and Sanctification 

Worries about money are very common, both in my own personal experience and in what I run into as a pastor.

Sometimes when we worry about money, we say things like, "we trust God to give us enough to live on", and "God has given us lots of other good things". And those are good and true sentiments. But we often seem to overlook the possibility that God is actively sanctifying us by withholding money.

We often seem to think that unlimited financial resources would be a good thing, but a look at the lives of the rich and famous should dispel that notion. Are they really just much more immoral people than anyone else? I don't think so. I just think they're a good example of what happens to people when the normal restraints are taken away.

God has all the resources in the world. He could make us as rich as He wanted to. And he's our loving heavenly father, who would never withhold anything from us, according to Romans 8:32. Therefore, any money that we do not have must be actively being withheld from us by God, in order to work in us precisely what God wants to work in us.

So when we consider our financial hardships, or in fact any other kind of hardship, we ought not simply to say, "well, God's blessing me in other ways." Instead we ought to realize that God is blessing us with the hardship itself.

Nothing on this earth ultimately matters. Only the relationship with God ultimately matters. This is the only thing of eternal significance. And so, Christ tells us to use the mammon of unrighteousness for eternal benefit. That is, we ought to pray for guidance and understanding to see how God is working an eternal benefit in us through our present financial circumstances.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promises. If there's something we think we need or want, there's a reason why we don't have it, and it's because we have an eternal father who loves us who has planned our lives for maximum benefit. For the goal that God has for us, every aspect of our lives is exactly what it ought to be.

Let's all remember that, as we remember to be thankful this Thanksgiving. We ought to be thankful not only for the obvious good things in our life, but for every single thing we have. The challenges and hardships will be a better thing for us in the long run, than the riches and easy pleasures of this life.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Please Leave the Biblical Interpretation to People who Actually Believe the Bible 

Instapundit apparently thinks that this is clever. It's not.

It's a parody site, called "God Hates Shrimp", and the point is, if we're against gay marriage, we ought to be against shrimp too. There's an "About" link that explains their position, and engages in some seriously sad Biblical exegesis.

When confronted with the different nature of the Old Testament's statements about prohibitions, some of which are ceremonial in nature and some of which are moral in nature, their response is "so what?"

Oh, right. I'd forgotten about that. Good point.

And when confronted with Paul's statements about homosexuality their first point is "Paul's not God."

Again, a stinging rebuttal.

They trot out this old canard about loving, committed homosexual relationships were virtually unknown in that day, to which I'd respond, they are virtually unknown in our day too. And Paul's statements regarding homosexuality do not specifically address one who practices homosexuality promiscuously, but simply one who practices it at all. To say that he was referring to promiscuity is an attempt to read his mind, to determine what he must have meant, instead of what he actually said. He talks about promiscuity plenty, but in Romans 1:26-27, he's making the emphatic case for what happens to people when they reject the knowledge of God, and homosexuality is apparently his worst-case scenario for moral degradation as the result of abandoning the truth of God.

The centrality of male-female monogamous relationships in society is not "cherry-picking" one or two verses here and there. It is the uniform witness of Scripture. If you don't believe the Bible (which Instapundit doesn't, and which I would think it's clear the "God Hates Shrimp" proprietors don't either), then just say that. But you can't accuse us of hypocrisy simply because we don't share your unbelief.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Katie on Video Games 

Katie (age 3), watching me play Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4:

"Daddy, I don't think you're skating right."

"Daddy, that sounded like it hurt."

"Daddy, maybe you should be more careful."


"Daddy, maybe you should play Halo."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Cutting Off Our Nose to Spite our Face; or, We May as Well Just Become Communists Now and Save the Time 

So Congress has dropped the provision to drill in ANWR, and is complaining about oil company profits.

Oil company profits are high because supply has been greatly constricted, and demand has increased. No nefariousness on the part of oil companies need be assumed. It's simple economics. Supply has been constricted by environmentalists, by Middle East oil cartels, and by the high cost of entry.

People tell us we ought not be dependent on Middle East oil supplies. Agreed. But how do we change that? We must either reduce demand, or increase other supplies, of energy broadly understood, not just oil.

Reduction of energy demand is simply not feasible. It's never been done to any great degree, and short of eliminating a large part of the world's population, it's never going to be done. Shifting energy demand from oil to other alternative energy sources is a nice idea and something we ought to pursue. But only one thing is going to drive that shift, and that's a profit motive.

Congress is now seeing to it that supply of oil will not increase, which will only increase the profits of the oil companies by further raising the cost of entering the market. And so Congress must also see to the next level of socialization, which is to confiscate those profits.

Not only are high profits the motive for other companies to enter the market (if Joe down the street is making fat bank on his lemonade stand, that encourages me to open my own lemonade stand and undercut his price a little, thus taking away some of his business and lowering the price), in a high tech arena like this it is also the means to explore alternate fuels. New, experimental technologies are always very costly and very risky; a great deal of seed money is necessary to make these things happen.

So they've taken away the possibility of increasing supply, and they've also taken away any motivation to shift to alternate fuels as well as the profits that would be necessary to fund such research. That is, Congress is doing everything it can to ensure that we continue to be dependent on the Middle East, and that every time I fill up gas, I'm supporting a terrorist. Thanks a bunch, Congress.

As this process continues, there will be increasing pressure for government to take over more aspects of this process that they've broken. And so there will be cries for more government funding for alternative fuels (already happening), and government regulation of pricing (happening to some extent), and eventually government control over the energy companies (on the way to happening). We really ought to just save ourselves a lot of time, become socialist, have our economy collapse, have some civil wars, kill off half the population, revolt against our government, enter a global dark age, learn our lesson, and emerge with a little bit more wisdom about the efficiencies of a free market. With any luck, we can get it overwith before my kids have to enter the workforce.

Or, the electorate of our country can just stop electing these idiots to Congress, and pick someone who has so much as cracked an economics book before we send them to Washington to lecture us about economic behavior.

Frankly, I'm not that hopeful.

UPDATE! See, I told you so.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Two new sermons have been uploaded. First is a sermon about greed, taken from the occasion of the Ephesian riots instigated by the silversmiths who were angry about the loss of revenue if people became Christians and stopped buying idols of Diana.

Second is a sermon drawn from Paul's final message to the Ephesian elders, teaching the purpose of the ministry of the word and why it is important. The link is on the sidebar.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

New Covenant is Packing it in 

Go say goodbye to Rusty, who's giving up blogging for the time being. I get around the time problem by just being very irregular and lazy about posting. But that doesn't work for everyone. He's been a much more dedicated blogger than I, given that he already quit once and was still more regular than I was.

I've enjoye your blog, Rusty. Stop in anytime.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

God Loves You and has a Wonderful Plan for your Death 

In the 24th chapter of Ezekiel, God takes the life of Ezekiel's wife, and forbids him to mourn her death. This is a sign to the people of Israel, for they will shortly hear of the destruction of Jerusalem and the razing of the temple, and they will be so dumbfounded that they will be unable to mourn.

Could someone go up to Ezekiel's wife that day and say, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?" In fact, God's plan was for her to die. Could you make that statement to the thief on the cross, who had no life left to live?

Too much of Christianity today is focused on how to make ourselves happy and have a wonderful life. One of the most popular evangelical tools, the Four Spiritual Laws of Campus Crusade, teach us that this is how it ought to be, and that we should become Christians because of how wonderful our life will be. But God's plan for us may very well be for our life to end suddenly. If our hope is in this world, we are likely to be disappointed. But if our hope is in what will happen as a consequence of our death, then we can rest assured that our hope will be realized.

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